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    Are Allergies Cramping Your Sex Life?

    Nasal allergies may make you feel anything but romantic. Here's how to get back in the mood.

    What's Stopping You? continued...

    In addition, allergies cause fatigue and tend to impact sufferers' sleep. "When they go to bed, they want to sleep, not be amorous," Benninger says of people with hay fever.

    Allergies also affect people's ability to smell. "We all know that smell and pheromones are a big part of sexuality, even in humans," Benninger says. It would follow, therefore, that if a person can't smell, their interest level in sex might decrease.

    "It makes sense," Benninger says. "But nobody has ever talked about it. They always talk about other symptoms and activity. This is the first time that there has ever been a large-scale study showing that it makes a difference."

    If your sex life has been put on ice because of nasal allergies, here's good news: You don't have to limit your lovemaking to the seasons when your allergies don't flare. Allergy treatments have come a long way, and help is available.

    Avoid the Problem

    "Avoidance is probably the first and most important treatment of allergies," Benninger says. Figure out what you're allergic to and take steps to avoid it. An allergist can perform testing, which is simple and reliable, to identify the culprit(s) and help you get relief.

    Some of those culprits may be near and dear to you - pets are a common allergy trigger.

    He says that as many as 70% of people in the United States sleep with their pets. Even if you don't cuddle up with Fido, if you allow him to spend the whole day sleeping on your pillow, you may have a flare-up of symptoms at bedtime. Allowing pets to spend time on your bed increases the odds of allergic symptoms when it's time for you and your partner to become intimate. Better to keep your bedroom door closed during the day and pets out.

    If you're allergic to ragweed or grass, Benninger advises that you keep the windows in your bedroom closed so that the pollen doesn't get in. "You'll sleep better if you don't have that level of exposure in your bed at night," he says.

    Bassett suggests setting your air conditioner on recirculate to keep pollens out. And don't forget to check the air conditioning filter during high pollen seasons for the highest level of efficiency.

    It's also a good idea to shampoo and shower nightly to rinse the pollens from your skin and hair, and to change your clothes before entering your bedroom to reduce pollen levels, Bassett says.

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